What Is “The Signature Professional Skill of the 21st Century”?
October 6, 2017 | Aging Services Risk, Quality, & Safety Guidance
The “ability to navigate difference is the signature professional skill of the 21st century," said David Hunt, JD, president and chief executive officer, Critical Measures, LLC, speaking September 21, 2017, at the fall conference of the Wisconsin Society for Healthcare Risk Management. “We have reached the demographic tipping point," he stated, noting that Asian Americans, African Americans, and Hispanic Americans will account for nearly 90% of U.S. population growth between now and 2050 and that immigration to the United States has tripled in the past 30 years. However, disparities in health outcomes persist. “Our fastest-growing populations are receiving the worst quality of care from our institutions," said Hunt. The use of qualified interpreters is a patient safety and quality issue as well as a legal issue. Under Section 1557 of the Affordable Care Act, patients can sue for inadequate language access. Individual differences mean that treating everyone the same is not a viable approach. For example, “respect is culturally relative," said Hunt; gestures that are polite and customary in one culture might be considered rude in another.